Extend Your Life With These New Year’s Resolutions
Looking for New Year’s resolutions that can extend your life? Master these three science-based healthy habits in 2023 and you’ll reduce stress, improve your sleep, boost your immunity, reduce inflammation, increase muscle strength and mobility, boost your brain power and mood, fight diseases and more – all the keys to a long and happy life.
Years ago, a doctor told me, “If there’s one thing in life you can do to live a longer, healthier life, it’s exercise. The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention agrees and has statistics to prove he.
“People who are physically active for about 150 minutes a week have a 33% lower risk of all-cause mortality than those who are physically inactive,” says our country’s leading health organization.
Let’s break it down: if you get up and move for 21.43 minutes every day of the week, you cut your risk of dying from anything by a third. Walking at a moderate pace has been shown to improve cognitive function, control weight, reduce the risk of disease, and strengthen bones and muscles. There are also exercise options for people with disabilities.
Some benefits of exercise are immediate: After completing 30 minutes of physical activity, you’ll experience less anxiety, lower blood pressure and greater insulin sensitivity, and you’ll sleep better that night.
Complete the adult-recommended 150 to 300 minutes per week of moderate-intensity exercise — like brisk walking, dancing, cycling, doubles tennis, and water aerobics — and the benefits increase.
In a few months, you will notice an improvement in your blood pressure, your heart and lung functions as well as a reduced risk of depression, anxiety, type 2 diabetes and cancers of the bladder, breast, colon , kidney, lung and stomach, according to the CDC. Not to mention that exercise can provide the benefits of reduced stress, better sleep, and a more robust sex life.
If you need some ideas to get started, sign up for CNN’s Fitness, But Better newsletter series. The seven-part guide will help you adopt a healthy, expert-backed workout routine.
According to research published in 2022.
The greatest longevity gains were found by eating more legumes, which include beans, peas, and lentils; whole grains, which are the whole seed of a plant; and nuts such as walnuts, almonds, pecans and pistachios, according to the study.
If you need help with recipes and food choices, there are several great plant-based diets you can follow. The DASH diet, or Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension, has been shown to reduce high blood pressure and get the best reviews. The same goes for the MIND diet, or Mediterranean-DASH Intervention for Neurodegenerative Delay, which focuses on foods to slow cognitive decline, and the flexitarian diet, a vegetarian diet flexible enough to allow some meat.
You do not know which one to choose ? Year after year, nutrition experts give the Mediterranean diet the gold medal.
Science has shown that sunny Mediterranean meals can reduce the risk of diabetes, high cholesterol, stroke, dementia, memory loss, depression and breast cancer. The plan has also been linked to stronger bones, a healthier heart and microbiome, and longer life. Oh, and weight loss too.
The Mediterranean way of eating is plant-based, so you’ll eat plenty of fruits, vegetables, grains, nuts, and seeds. Use all kinds and colors of vegetables to get the widest range of nutrients, phytochemicals, and fiber. Bake them, roast them or garnish them with herbs and a little extra virgin olive oil.
You’ll eat less red meat, sugar and saturated fat, and more omega-3 rich fish (twice a week) and olive oil. Think of chicken, beef, and pork as “seasoning” for a dish instead of the main course. (It’s also better for the planet. To learn more about how to reduce your impact on the planet, sign up for CNN’s seven-part Life, But Greener newsletter.)
Add whole grains and fruit to every meal, but use nuts and seeds as a side dish or small snack due to their high calorie content and fat content.
And here’s the real secret to the success of the Mediterranean diet: it’s not a diet at all. It’s a lifestyle, which emphasizes exercise, eating mindfully with friends and family, and socializing around meals.
As for exercise, it doesn’t have to be in a gym.
“The Mediterranean lifestyle is all about walking with friends and family,” dietician Kelly Toups said in a previous interview. “Instead of viewing exercise as something you have to do, walk, dance, or move happily.”
You want to know more ? You’ll find amazing recipes, shopping guides and tips for getting started eating Mediterranean in our eight-part newsletter Eat But Better: Mediterranean Style.
You can choose to exercise more or eat healthier, but your body will demand sleep. The quantity and quality of it, however, is under your control.
Depending on your age, you are supposed to sleep between 7 and 10 hours a night. Having less has been linked in studies to high blood pressure, a weakened immune system, weight gain, low sex drive, mood swings, paranoia, depression and a higher risk of diabetes, stroke, cardiovascular disease, dementia and certain cancers.
Not convinced? Sleeping less than the recommended amount each night on a regular basis can double your risk of dying. In a longitudinal study of 10,308 British civil servants, researchers found that those who reduced their sleep from seven to five hours or less per night were almost twice as likely to die from all causes, especially cardiovascular disease.
Oh, and your chances of developing a major disease or health problem skyrocket if you don’t get enough sleep. This is because during sleep your body literally repairs and restores itself at the cellular level.
You can train your brain (and your will) to get more restful sleep — it’s all in CNN’s seven-part Sleep, But Better newsletter series. You can find additional tips on harnessing and reducing stress by signing up for CNN’s Stress, But Less newsletter.
It only takes one small step to get started. So congratulations are in order! You are well on your way to a happier, healthier life. These actions will also help reduce stress, improve your mood and invigorate your sex life. (For more clues on the latter, check out this gallery.)
And remember that you don’t have to make all of these changes at once. Choose one thing – exercise, sleep, or diet – to address first. And give yourself some time to establish those habits – here’s how.